3D BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Nov 19, 2012 0 comments
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The Pirate Captain (voiced by a wonderfully swaggering Hugh Grant) leads his merry men across the high seas, searching for gold, adventure…and ham? He’s never quite what we expect a career swashbuckler to be, and when the Captain sets his sights on the Pirate of the Year Award, we soon see that this criminal rogue is actually just a flawed softie with a chance at redemption. The underlying plot is surprisingly similar to the recent Despicable Me, but what sets The Pirates! Band of Misfits apart is a series of wacky twists involving a dateless, conniving scientist named Charles Darwin and a downright loopy Queen Victoria. The movie also overflows with subtle sight gags, little placards and such in the shadows just behind a character. My kids laughed hysterically along with me, and they didn’t even catch half the jokes, so this disc definitely merits a purchase for the sake of repeat viewings.
Guido Henkel Posted: Feb 26, 2016 0 comments
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Traditionally, I avoid Adam Sandler films, for the simple reason that I just don’t think he’s funny. In the case of Pixels, however, I made an exception because the theme of retro arcade machines definitely appeals.

As aliens invade Earth, disguised as digitized characters from old-school arcade favorites, the military is stumped. Nothing could prepare them for an assault of video-game nemeses, and neither their tactics nor their weapons are a match for these attackers. That’s when the president calls upon old pals from his nerdy teenage days spent at the arcade, and with their lightning-fast reflexes and ingrained strategies, they set out to stop the onslaught of deadly avatars.

Corey Gunnestad Posted: Feb 12, 2014 0 comments
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Watching R.I.P.D., you might experience a profound sense of déjà vu. You may find yourself saying, “Hey, I’ve seen this before, only it was called Men in Black and it had Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in it.” The RIPD is a secret special service branch of the afterlife whose primary task is to track down and terminate other “deados” who hide out in the real world and refuse to cross over. Yes, apparently it’s possible to kill someone who’s already dead.
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 16, 2013 0 comments
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It’s not exactly a secret that Sony Pictures produced a fabulously successful trilogy of Spider-man films from 2002 to 2007. All three were directed by Sam Raimi and starred Tobey Maguire as the resident arachnid. Though the last of the three laid something of a critical egg, it was nevertheless a golden one at the box office. The Amazing Spider-Man is not a sequel but instead a complete reboot, origin story and all. Clearly, Sony was hoping to re-invigorate the franchise. Judging from its commercial success, I’d say it succeeded.
Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Apr 27, 2012 0 comments

I had no intention of seeing Titanic in 3D. This wasn't a "Hmmm, should I" type decision. At no point was the option of going to a theater and seeing this movie in faux-3D a valid option in my brain. It was up there with "run marathon," "time travel," and "read Twilight" on the list of things I know I will never do.

Well, last night I saw it - James Cameron's retrofitted 3D masterpiece. And you know what, I expected to hate it. . . and didn't. As someone who reviews 3D crap - sorry "stuff" - for a living, here's my take.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 19, 2011 0 comments
Blu is a companion to Linda, and the two are inseparable. But when Brazilian ornithologist Tulio shows up, Linda learns that Blu is the only male blue macaw in existence and must mate to save the species. Linda reluctantly agrees, and she, Blu, and Tulio set off to Rio de Janeiro. This leads to events Linda never dreamed of back home in Moose Lake, Minnesocold. And when birdnappers, together with a particularly nasty jailbird, enter Blu’s world, his adventures parallel hers.

Produced by Blue Sky Studios, the computer animation house behind the successful Ice Age franchise, Rio’s story line doesn’t feel all that promising at first. But it grows on you. While 2011 hasn’t yet equaled 2010 for potential entries in the animation hall of fame, a chameleon, a panda, and now a macaw are more than enough to keep the current golden age of computer animation firing on all cylinders.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 08, 2013 0 comments
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When boogeyman Pitch Black schemes to plant fearsome nightmares into the minds and hearts of children throughout the world, it falls on the Guardians to derail his plans. When they attempt to convince Jack Frost, a free-spirit prankster, to join them, he agrees only when things turn truly grim.
Chris Chiarella Posted: Feb 26, 2015 0 comments
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Sin City: You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. In A Dame to Kill For, the second big-screen adaptation of the works of writer/artist/director Frank Miller, we find that stripper Nancy (Jessica Alba) has been driven cuckoo-bananas by the events surrounding the death of her hero and one true love a few years ago. She now finds herself shadowed by the ghost of Bruce Willis (where have I seen that before?)
David Vaughn Posted: Mar 28, 2011 5 comments
Pursued by the King's troops, Flynn Rider (voice by Zachary Levi) takes refuge in a mysterious tower, but he's not alone. Before he knows it, he's tied to a chair by Rapunzel (Mandy Moore), a spirited teen with 70 feet of magical golden hair. Looking for her ticket out of the tower she's been trapped in for years, she strikes a deal with the handsome thief, and the duo set off on an adventure pursued by a determined horse, a pair of thugs, and an evil woman who doesn't want to lose her fountain of youth.

This is Disney's 50th full-length animated feature, and while I wouldn't consider it to the level of The Lion King or Beauty and the Beast, it's very entertaining. There are a lot of laughs, especially from the horse and overprotective chameleon, but the musical numbers are a mixed bag.

Corey Gunnestad Posted: Mar 24, 2015 2 comments
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Way back in the mid to late 1980s, I was an avid comic book collector, and one of my favorite discoveries around that time was a brand-new and independently produced comic called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It lacked the polish and grandeur of the Marvel and DC titles, but it was raw, edgy, and totally original. There was no shortage of blood on the katana, if you get my drift. Not long after that, however, mainstream pop culture bastardized it into a puke-inducing kiddie cartoon and toy franchise. The once-hardcore vigilante turtles suddenly became pizza-eating wisecrackers who over-frequently used words like dude and cowabunga. It also spawned three diaper-filling live-action films, and I abandoned all hope after that.
Chris Chiarella Posted: Feb 12, 2016 1 comments
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The still-thrilling Terminator franchise has certainly experienced its share of highs and lows over the last 30-odd years. And so creator James Cameron’s ringing endorsement for the latest installment, Terminator Genisys—in which he had no direct involvement—carried a lot of weight with fans. While giving major respect to the classic canon, this fifth movie is superbly smart, inventive, and even quite funny at times.
Chris Chiarella Posted: Nov 25, 2014 0 comments
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Peter Parker’s a recent high school graduate with an awesome girlfriend and—thanks to a bite from an experimental spider—has become the super-powered guardian angel of New York City, and quite the folk hero. But Pete’s good fortune seldom lasts, and the return of his boyhood chum Harry Osborn quickly takes a dark turn—or is that just the new villain Electro sucking all the juice out of the Big Apple?
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 05, 2013 2 comments
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When Marvel Comics’ gang of superheroes—Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, The Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye—get together after the first four of them starred in their own movies, you know something big is up. And it’s no surprise that Loki, Thor’s adopted brother, who teamed up with an army of nasty aliens, is behind it.
Chris Chiarella Posted: Jul 01, 2016 0 comments
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Ever wonder what would happen if the meteorite that killed the dinosaurs missed Earth instead, enabling our prehistoric pals to evolve into the dominant animals on the planet, rather than man? Regardless of your answer, here’s The Good Dinosaur, a rare misfire from the esteemed Pixar gang. While we on the sofa are still wrestling with the ramifications of this bizarre setup, we’re introduced to a family of dino farmers: no, seriously, a pack of apatosauruses that harvests corn and plows the field with their blunt heads.
Chris Chiarella Posted: Sep 05, 2013 1 comments
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Peter Jackson gave the world a beloved, wildly successful film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, culminating in a record-breaking Oscar sweep, so of course, he was the obvious choice to helm the Hobbit prequels. But whereas the Rings trilogy made a newbie like me love it with its epic thrills and fascinating characters, An Unexpected Journey seems to be in love with its own familiar world and everyone in it. We meet a younger Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit happily minding his own business when the wizard Gandalf drafts him for a dangerous quest.

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